Eleanor and I had scheduled a feedback session with the residents of St Josephs today. Our plan was to play them the sound scape, show them some of the drawings that will make up the memory wall and discuss the ongoing project with them with a view to getting some feedback. We had planned all along to do this, so as to ensure that the residents stayed in the loop and actively engaged in the work. Without their input and feedback the project loses its power. We needed to make sure that the work we’ve made so far, or at least elements of it, was resonating with those who we’d communicated with to make it.
We had a large crowd of 15 or so who kindly made themselves available in the Sun room this morning. All our ‘key players’ were there, those individuals who we have spent the most time with and who have been the most willing to engage with us and the project and share stories, memories and opinions with us.
As I set up my laptop and speakers to play the sound scape, I suddenly felt apprehensive and nervous. What if people did not like it? What if someone was offended or embarrassed? Taking a memory or a story and moving it from the intimate, shared moment by a bedside where it was shared, to a public, shared broadcasted soundscape for all to hear, suddenly made me worried I might not have done justice to the wonderful stories and memories we’d been trusted with. Highlighting and honouring the lives of these individuals was all we hoped to do, and at that moment it seemed pivotal that it be well received.
As we played the sound scape, we got some positive reactions, and also some yawns, which was to be expected in the warm room which was catching the mid morning sunshine 🙂 We stopped it and Eleanor talked more about our plans for the show and asked around the room for feedback. She reminded all that it’s not easy to describe art, especially art in the making. We were fortunate to get some feedback and one Lady was kind enough to sing a ballad which Eleanor had been trying to catch her for for a while, so we were happy to get that.
I showed the circular memory cards I’d brought with me to some of the residents, who had inspired me to make them.
In summary, the first showing of any work is always a vulnerable time for an artist, as it emerges from the safety of your own mind, where of course it makes perfect sense, to a wider audience who may not have the same vested interest in it that you do. It was good to get the feedback and response that we did today, and we emerged with more ideas and information that can be harvested to add to the work.
Eleanor took this shot, see below, this morning. “An act of serendipity. This gentleman has a wonderful capacity for friendship. I like to think I captured through the rhyming footsteps, the kindness and trust of two caring people.”